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Th brainsurge logo.png
TV logo
GenreChildren's game show
Created byScott A. Stone
Clay Newbill
Directed bySteve Grant
Presented byJeff Sutphen
Narrated byErin Fitzgerald (season 1–2)
John Cramer (season 3)
Composer(s)David Michael Frank
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes120
Executive producer(s)Scott A. Stone
Clay Newbill
David A. Hurwitz
Aaron Solomon (co-executive producer)
Noah Bonnett (co-executive producer; seasons 2–3)
Producer(s)Janice Minsburg
Production location(s)Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California
Camera setupVideotape; Multi-camera
Running timeapprox. 22–24 minutes
Production company(s)Stone & Company Entertainment
310 Entertainment
Nickelodeon Productions
Original networkNickelodeon (2009–2011)
Nick at Nite (2011)[1]
Nicktoons (2014)
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Original releaseSeptember 28, 2009 (2009-09-28) – May 9, 2014 (2014-05-09)
External links

BrainSurge is an American children's game show that aired on Nickelodeon and was hosted by Jeff Sutphen.[2] The show taped its first season in February 2009, and debuted on September 28, 2009.[3][4] The show's format was adapted from the Tokyo Broadcasting System game show Brain Survivor.[5] The U.S. version was created by Scott A. Stone, creator of kid's game shows Legends of the Hidden Temple, Fun House, Paradise Run, and The Mole, and Clay Newbill, executive producer of The Mole and Shark Tank.

The network announced on February 18, 2010 that the program was renewed for a second season, that will consist of 40 episodes, and will feature the same format without any known changes.[6] The second season, which featured the 40 original episodes plus one episode held over from season one, premiered on June 21, 2010. The third season started airing on July 18, 2011 on Nick at Nite, marketed as Family BrainSurge,[1] and had a two-person family team format with five teams. The third season ran until November 17, 2011, when the show was canceled. The remaining episodes aired on Nicktoons from April 28 to May 9, 2014.[7]

BrainSurge was taped at Hollywood Center Studios in Hollywood, California.[8]

The series was adapted for Latin American and Brazilian audiences as Veloz Mente, which premiered on Discovery Kids on November 7, 2011. This version is hosted by Mariano Chiesa.


BrainSurge's challenges are designed to test the memory and comprehension skills of its contestants.

Level One: Brain Tease[edit]

The contestants/teams begin by playing a series of visual puzzles. There were 6 (sometimes 5) puzzles in season 1, worth 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 100 points each (for a maximum of 250 points); in season 2, the 40-point puzzle was dropped (except in an episode that was delayed from season 1); in season 3 (Family BrainSurge), there are four puzzles, worth 10, 25, 50, and 100 points. Each solution is a number that the players need to enter using their keypads. The contestants/teams have 10 seconds to lock in their answers. The four highest-scoring contestants/teams advance to the next round (ties are broken by how quickly the contestants/teams entered their answers; if the teams tied for last place had a score of 0 points in season 3, a tiebreaker puzzle is played instead and the team who correctly answers it the fastest will advance); all eliminated contestants/teams in this and future levels are sent down the "Brain Drain", a slide formed as a human ear containing foam.

Level Two: Brain Fart[edit]

During the second round, the four remaining contestants/teams are told a story from a book read by the host and are asked questions in turn about the story. Contestants/teams lock in their answers by sitting down on a chair. If a contestant/team gets a question right, a ding sound is heard. If a contestant/team gets a question wrong (or if they fail to answer), the chair makes a farting noise, and the contestant/team is pulled backwards through a paper "tooth" (Curtains in Season 2 or later) of a large face (made to resemble host Sutphen) and eliminated from further play. This continues until two contestants/teams remain. In Family BrainSurge, each team is allowed one "Brain Fart", which allows two other members of the family (the "Brain Trust") to offer an answer for the team; the team stays in the game or is eliminated based on that answer. There were two types of questions used in Level 2. One type involved who, what, where, when, and why type questions about events in the story (in this type, if a question is missed the next player/team will be asked the same question) and the other type involved players/teams naming things that Jeff listed in the story (e.g. name the musical instruments mentioned in the story) and in this type repeating an already said answer, including another form of that answer, counted as a wrong answer. On "Family BrainSurge", if all the answers in the naming type questions are used up before two teams are eliminated, then Jeff will ask tiebreaker questions using who, what, and where type questions, and teams cannot use their Brain Farts during a tiebreaker (any unused Brain Farts are out of play when the tiebreaker starts).

Knockout Round[edit]

In the Knockout round, the two remaining contestants/teams have ten seconds to memorize a grid of 16 numbers containing 8 pairs of images from the story. The contestants/teams then take turns matching pairs of images from the story. Once either contestant makes a mistake, the player who makes the next match wins the game in a sudden-death match; if no contestant makes a mistake, the contestant who made the last correct match wins. At this point, the losing contestant's chair does the same thing as if a question is wrong. The contestant/team that lost in this round and the 2 eliminated contestants/teams from Level 2 all go down the Brain Drain.

Level Three: Brain Trip (The Final Stage)[edit]

For the bonus round, the contestant/team must successfully trace out three paths on grids within 90 seconds. The first path is 6 squares (5 squares on a season 1 episode) on a 4x4 grid, the second is 8 squares (10 squares on two season 1 episodes and 9 squares on a season 2 episode) on a 5x5 grid, and the third is 10 squares on a 6x6 grid; squares are always connected (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). Each square has an actuator in the middle that must be stepped on to activate the square. Contestants see each path twice; the clock starts running when the contestant first activates a square. After completing a path successfully, the contestant must step on an actuator outside the board to stop the clock. Contestants are told immediately when they make a mistake; they must return to the start and view the pattern again before being allowed to continue; when viewing the pattern after a mistake, the clock continues to run. On Family BrainSurge, the child did the 4x4 and 6x6 while the adult did the 5x5, and the rest of the team (including the "Brain Trust") was allowed to help guide the contestant. Contestants/teams can win three prizes, one for completing each of the three paths, with the grand prize usually being a trip (though on a celebrity episode of Family BrainSurge, it was a billiards table); any prizes they win on one stage are theirs to keep, regardless of the final outcome. If time runs out, the contestant/team must go down the Brain Drain, while contestants/teams who succeed before time runs out are slimed, in network tradition. Also, on Family BrainSurge, the episode's winning team also got a donation made by the show's staff in their name to one of Nickelodeon's "Big Help" partner organizations.


Girls vs. Boys[edit]

During the first week of the second season, the audience was divided into two sections, each with a group of a different gender. In each episode, male contestants wore green and female contestants wore purple. If a male contestant won, male audience members received a green BrainSurge T-shirt. If a female contestant won, female audience members received a purple BrainSurge T-shirt.

Celebrity Episode[edit]

Each season has at least 2 episodes featuring celebrity players, at least one of which had Nickelodeon stars as players. On the season 1 and 2 celebrity episodes, the Nick stars played and the winner played to win prizes and the sliming for a lucky audience member. The season 2 Nick star episodes featured the stars representing their show in teams (either 3 teams of 2, or 2 teams of 3), even though each player wore a different color. Losing the bonus round meant that the celebrity had to go down the Brain Drain (in season 1, the audience member also went down the brain drain with the celebrity). On Family BrainSurge, the Nick stars won prizes for their Brain Trusts in the audience (fans of the show each team was representing). There were also two Family BrainSurge episodes with celebrities and their families playing to win prizes for themselves and a donation to a favorite charity (ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on their progress), as well as an episode with teams consisting of a child paired up with a WWE star (the wrestlers wore whatever they wanted, rather than the BrainSurge shirts usually worn on the show).

Co-Host Week[edit]

One week during season 2 featured Jeff hosting with a celebrity co-host by his side. The round one puzzles and the round two story usually contained references to that episodes co-host (mainly about what they're famous for). Also, during those episodes, if the player lost the final round, the co-host would go down the Brain Drain with the player. Likewise if the player won the final round, the co-host would get slimed with the player. The co-hosts were:

Family Week[edit]

During the last week of season 2, there were pairs of related players competing, but the game was still played with the usual rules. Related players wore the same color shirt. Two episodes had 3 pairs of siblings playing individually, while another 2 episodes had the same configuration, but with 3 pairs of twins. On the sibling and twins episodes, the winners' sibling or twin would wish them luck via video before starting the bonus round. One episode that week had 6 parent-child teams playing (which might have inspired Family BrainSurge) and during the bonus round, the child did the 4x4 and the 6x6, while the parent did the 5x5.


  1. ^ a b Family Brainsurge
  2. ^ "Shows - Schedule for Episodes of BrainSurge on Nickelodeon". toonzone. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  3. ^ "Brainsurge". Nickelodeon. 2009. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "Nickelodeon's BrainSurge". On Camera Audiences. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  5. ^ Nickelodeon (February 18, 2010). "Nickelodeon Green-Lights Second Season of New Hit Game Show Brainsurge!" (Press release). The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 31, 2010. [BrainSurge] is based on the Tokyo Broadcasting System Television program Brain Survivor.
  6. ^ Nick renews 'BrainSurge'
  7. ^ "Family BrainSurge Listings". The Futon Critic.
  8. ^ "Nickelodeon's 'BrainSurge' brings back the game". The Orange County Register. September 25, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2012.

External links[edit]